Best Articles in Brand & Innovation for June

Tracking WOnder - brand and innovation JuneEvery month Tracking Wonder brings you some of the best articles from across the web that have stopped us in our tracks or given us pause to think and consider perspectives in creativity, brand, and innovation.

This month we’ll look at getting in the creative zone, the importance of company culture, and the psychology behind picking color for your brand.

With help from Tracking Wonder’s research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros, I’ve gathered and curated some of what we deem the most relevant studies, stories, and news that will help you and your team excel at having the most impact and influence – all via storytelling, brand, and innovation. Read more

Intensity Not Relaxation Inspires Creative Courage

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“It was clear…that what kept [top performers in flow] motivated was the quality of experience they felt when they were involved with the activity. This feeling didn’t come when they were relaxing, when they were taking drugs or alcohol, or when they were consuming the expensive privileges of wealth. Rather, it often involved painful, risky, difficult activities that stretched the person’s capacity and involved an element of novelty and discovery. This optimal experience is what I have called flow.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

Real transformation comes not from luxury or wealth or even deep relaxation. It comes from intensity punctuated with emotional relief and delightful surprise.

They came from every coast to climb a ridge, enter a castle, and make magic happen.

Entrepreneurs, teachers, an architectural designer, writers, consultants, therapists, a mountaintop farm owner, professionals, artful parents – every single one of them pow – er- ful – had arrived at Mohonk Mountain Resort. Mohonk is a veritable 19th-century castle-like structure perched on the Shawangunk Ridge in New York’s Hudson Valley that boasts awe-inspiring views of the Catskills Mountains.

But this pack didn’t come mostly to soak in the views. They didn’t come mostly to soak in the top-rated spa waters.  They didn’t come mostly to loaf and lean along the languorous trails.

They came ostensibly for an author’s intensive called Your Brave New Story. They sought to learn how to shape their books, break through blocks, own their larger brand possibilities, consider their best path to publish.


But they really came to taste bravery. What they gave back was the formidable alliance necessary to live bravely together.

It’s one thing to feel brave for a moment. It’s another to become brave and stay brave upon returning home.

That kind of change rarely comes from deep relaxation. It often comes from a certain kind of intensity and a certain kind of bonding.  Read more

Practicing excellence & flow is not a privilege

mountain-peak-stockPracticing excellence is not a privilege. It’s a birthright. It’s in part what we human beings are here for. We have these remarkable faculties. Perhaps what most elevates us is to finesse our best attention and direct it toward specific endeavors that benefit others, whether that benefit is through art, social change, business artistry. It turns out that excellence has little to do with the easy life. Read more

Fantasies of freedom can trap creatives & entrepreneurs

Freedom-Beach-1280x1024Four-hour work weeks, lounging on a beach while “passive income” streams in.

Fluid days of getting lost in canvases and pages, paintings and books in steady demand.

These fantasies sound dreamy, right?

You’re pressed for time. You’re over-scheduled. You’re inundated. You’re making snail’s progress on projects you care about.

The problem with those structure-less fantasies is that for working entrepreneurs or creatives a toxic resentment creeps in toward obligations to clients or co-workers. Obligations to family. Taking care of the business of life. Prison bars, all of them, that keep them from their fantasy of freedom.

What I say about freedom might irritate you, but here’s what I’ve noticed. Read more

For 2014: Hero’s Quest + Science of Flow + Story Architecture

dreamsThe Question

How do we shape a meaningful life of creating, build a signature presence with integrity, and make a difference?

That’s the singular question I’ve been tracking and living for most of my adult life. It turns out it’s a question that rings with numerous people I’ve spoken and worked with, too.

They’re fatigued with Buzz – all the distracting messages about what “it takes” to get your work out into the world and still enjoy this one wild life.

They’re aching for a different tune.

I’m about to release work that has burned in me for thirty years and that comes largely from my living that and other questions about how we live and create. Collectively it’s called Live the Quest.

Some of you, like me, are curious about the thinking that happens behind an idea, so I wanted to share with you what led to this project. Think “Follow Your Bliss” meets “Science of Flow.” Think “Story Architecture” meets “Brand Architecture.”  Read more

When & How Do You Stop Business as Usual?

Say you’ve mustered the focus and fire to work steadily on creative work that matters – your novel, software app, product launch, client groove.

You’ve finessed time-shaping, optimized your physical space. You’re set, rolling, and flowing.

Then, boom. Life happens. A tropical storm floods your home. An ailing parent needs emergency care. A relationship crumbles. Your special needs child’s requirements lead to litigation.

When do personal needs trump business as usual? How do you halt or re-direct “business as usual”?

Those are questions several of you, especially as solo-preneurs and creatives, have been living – and Mark Silver & Jason Stein and others have been posting about the subject, too. I’ve helped several people co-craft “Emergency Momentum” plans to help weather cancer, business crunches, economic drops, parental needs, children’s emergency needs, and more.

But suddenly they’re questions I’m living in, too, again, as some of you know from a recent post. Read more